Remember in middle school when you would play ‘gossip’? You know the game….where everyone at the party would sit in a circle and the first person would whisper something to the next person, then they would repeat what they heard to the person next to them and so on. By the time the statement or comment reached the last person, the original statement was so far from the truth that it was actually funny. Gossip in real life is not funny.
I live in a small town of about 6500 people. We are ‘newcomers’, having only been here for just a little over two years. Most people in this county were born and raised right here…generation after generation. Everyone knows everyone at least in some way. The seven degrees of Carroll County could be reduced to three degrees! Small towns can be great for some things. Yesterday proved that for my family as we needed help and our close friends gathered their resources and were there for my daughter. The feeling of knowing we can count on someone and trust is priceless.
However, small town life can be full of busy-bodies that actually enjoy talking about other people and taking advantage of their misfortunes or hardships. I actually had a customer tell me that she enjoyed talking about people and thought it was fun. This was after she told me about a rumor that was going around about me! Personally, I would rather do something productive, creative or educational. Don’t get me wrong….if there is great juice on someone with solid evidence….you can go all in on red that I’m on the phone with my best friend in Texas to tell her all about it!
But what does gossiping accomplish? How does it affect the person being talked about? And what does it say about the person gossiping? I hope this post doesn’t bore you as it may be long, but this is something that has been heavy on my heart for several weeks and need to get it out.
We’ve all had that gut feeling that others are talking about you. No matter where you live, what organizations you belong to, or the circle of friends you keep, you have felt that vibe that people are talking. Maybe it’s as simple as changing your hairstyle or as worrisome of money problems that you are afraid have leaked out to those around you. Or maybe you actually have done something bad and now everyone knows. Most of the time, this is all in our heads. People don’t really care about you as much as you’d like to think (I’m still trying to master this one!). Once it comes out that people are actually running their mouths about you….you may feel shocked, ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, angry, resentful, or even relieved. For me, I was relieved. Then I lost respect for a lot of people in this town. If the gossip was truth about me (which it wasn’t), why didn’t my so-called-friends reach out to me? Instead, they chose to shy away and continue to talk rather than seek out the truth. Don’t they know that fact is stranger than fiction?
When someone gossips about another person (which we’re ALL guilty of at some point), that speaks volumes about that person’s character. Yes, there are plenty of studies out there about self-worth and insecurities that would give us a really pretty answer as to why people gossip on a regular basis. However since this is me writing this post, I will give my uneducated opinion as to why people gossip and what it says about them. They do it to because they have nothing else to talk about. They have nothing interesting in their lives going on, so they feel the need to “embellish” yours. They are most likely jealous or intimidated of you in some way or another. And furthermore, they do not have the guts to come and ask you if the rumors are true.
In summary, if you are a gossiper by nature….people do not hold respect for you and will see that you can’t be trusted. If you enjoy talking about others before going to the source, you are doing more harm than good for everyone involved.
If you are the one that is the topic of gossip chats and luncheons, that could actually be a good thing in some way. They say all publicity is good, right?! If you’ve done nothing wrong, then hold your head up and carry on. One of my favorites here: FUN Carry On
Over the last few months, I have struggled with anxiety over the thought of what people think of me. It can become obsessive at times. And absolutely ridiculous. I am aware that people are talking about me because I have been pushed out of every meeting, email, text and phone call by all the other businesses in town. By worrying about what others think about me, I have put these irrelevant people before my personal goals, my family and my business. And I know the truth….and I have nothing to hide. If you have heard a rumor about me or my store….please talk to me before making assumptions. ‘Cause we all know what happens when we assume…….